Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Senior Thievery

The little town where we live, and it's specific churches and businesses will remain unnamed, but for the sake of flow, we'll call the town Daisy. Daisy is one of those little prairie villages that is mostly seniors, mostly church-goers, and mostly harmless. We do have a new element moving in, but they're just collectively called the Druggies. They're the people who've been forced out of other towns and found themselves in Daisy for a time. We have two churches in town. The Baptist and Proud runs about 50 people, but the Church of Heritage runs about 200. I married into one of the Heritage families, so that's where we attend.

Here in Daisy we have our own special generation of religious, thrifty seniors. Sometimes they're religiously thrifty, and sometimes they're thriftily religious, but the first is something I could use a little more of myself, and the second is not for me to judge. They all survived the depression/dust bowl out on the Oklahoma prairie, raised their children and spent their lives and strength out on the farm.

One of the funny things I've noticed about them is how they cannot stand that a fruit tree might go unappreciated for a season. You haven't seen funny until you've seen a group of senior ladies with big white sheets and broomsticks shaking down the mulberries from the tree at Mr. and Mrs. Whosits' old house. The Whosits aren't going to use them, because they're in the home, poor souls, so why let all that purply goodness go to waste, right? I'm not kidding. They'll lay sheets on the ground, and start shaking those branches with broomsticks. When the sheets are covered with mulberries, they'll wrap them up and take their loot home to make mulberry cobbler, mulberry jam, and other manner of sweets.

There's also an apricot tree across the street from the dorm, and since the house is empty (The Druggies left when they couldn't pay their bills.), the Senior Swipers feel free to start their usual procedures. Almost every evening someone is out there gathering apricots. The photo at top is the pile of rejects from someone's sweet little grandmother. And let me tell you, if a Daisy grandma can't use it, it's unusable. Period.

Last night as we went by, the couple out picking fruit invited us to come over and get some any time we wanted. They do have some right to ownership, since the man who was picking the apricots is also the man who mows that yard. He can't stand for one of the houses on the street to look so unkempt. Since he can't do anything about the dilapidated house, he keeps the lawn presentable.

I suppose they're entitled. Surviving on the Oklahoma prairie isn't easy, and these families have thrived. Maybe it was all the extra fruit. All I know is, it's a vicious race against the clock to get into our new house before the pears ripen on the tree out front. It's probably still fair game, since we aren't actually sleeping there, and Mr. M has been mowing our lawn off and on all season, well, the parts of it you can see when you drive by, anyway.


Myrna said...

Ha! - save some of those pears for me.

lilibeth said...

Sorry. When I planted the tree I thought it was a fruitless pear. but you do like least NOW you do. After several years of plentiful pears you may detest them and have to call for the army with the brooms and sheets to come take them away.

JennaG said...

I don't have the "problem" of the "Senior Swipers" picking my fruit--those dumb deer have ate every blueberry off my bush this year. I don't have a single blueberry to freeze--ugh! We've been here three summers--and this is the first time the deer have found my bushes. So sorry that you also deal with asthma--and I'm glad he's done better lately. We have gone three years before without pulling out our nebulizer--I almost gave it to my sister--so glad I didn't. Thank you for your prayers.

JAM said...

You paint a very vivid picture here. Reminds me of small town Louisiana when I was a kid.

Folks who lived through the depression have a totally different mindset from ours of today. That's really too bad.

Qtpies7 said...

Oh my gosh, thats hysterical!
You better go mark your tree! Put some chairs in the front yard and sit out there for an hour or two in the early evening. Leave a kiddie trike in the yard so it looks lived in! Or, nail a sign to the tree "If you pick my pears, you better bring me something you made from it!"

Anonymous said...

Oh I love your stories!! :) What makes it so funny is that it's so true! and it wouldn't surprise me if I'm related to some of the broom brigade! :)

I really got a chuckle from qtpies7 's remark about nailing the sign to the pear tree! I wonder what the broom brigade would do in response to that? :)

Hope your move goes smooth!
Michelle :)